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The Wishbone Express - Chapter 1

 
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:32 am    Post subject: The Wishbone Express - Chapter 1 Reply with quote





Chapter 1

Spaceport bars are, as a rule, vastly overrated.

It's an easy mistake to make. Spaceport bars conjure up such a colorful mental image — a rowdy, spontaneous circus, filled with a rich variety of alien life forms, a place where anything can happen and everything does. All you have to do is sit patiently and sip your drink and step out of the way when a fight breaks out.

Sadly, most spaceport bars just don't live up to the billing. With millions of inhabited planets in the galaxy, there are millions of spaceports — which means there are millions of spaceport bars. But only a small percentage measure up to the high standards set by such legendary hot spots as, say, Duffy's Revenge on the planet Dusseldorf II. You won't find more than a few thousand of this type in the whole galaxy. The rest are just dreary little dives that offer watered-down booze, cut-rate drugs, third-rate entertainment, and a very low class of companionship.



Ah, but the Cloud Nine Lounge on the planet Blue Marble in the Sangwaniki star system is definitely not your run-of-the-mill spaceport bar. It is, without a doubt, one of those rare and rowdy spontaneous circuses.

Even the architecture is outrageous. The Cloud Nine Lounge is a huge sphere of transparent crystalsteel which sits atop the spaceport terminal building like a giant soap bubble. The inside of the bubble is filled with a grid-work of thin metal rods, like an over-sized set of monkey bars, a geometric maze that dazzles the eye. At every point where the rods intersect, a small table-like platform is built into the junction. There are hundreds of these little tables, from the bottom of the sphere to the top.



Patrons have no problem ascending from the ground floor to any of the elevated tables because the moment they enter the Cloud Nine Lounge they discover that there’s no gravity. No chairs, either. In total weightlessness the patrons simply pull themselves through the air via the grid work of rods. Each of the tables has its own weak gravity field so that the spill-proof drinking bulbs will stay put. This leaves the patrons free to enjoy the view — which is nothing short of remarkable. The Cloud Nine Lounge resembles a goldfish bowl, and there’s a very practical reason for this. The planet Blue Marble is nine-tenths ocean. Therefore the city of Klaukaren, in which the spaceport resides, is nine-tenths canals. And the whole city is both tide and tidal-wave proof, including the Cloud Nine Lounge. When a tidal wave does roll over the spaceport, the patrons of the Cloud Nine Lounge watch the fish swim past – along with anyone who happens to be outside a building when the tidal wave hits.


_____________________________________________

"May I take your order, sir?" said the robot bartender as it hovered behind the bar. It was a complex gizmo — multi-armed but legless, polished to a mirror finish. The tone of its synthesized voice was cordial, but it had to shout above the loud music of the holographic entertainment center located in the exact center of the big spherical room, high above the doughnut-shaped bar at the base of the sphere.



"I'm looking for somebody. I'm supposed to meet them here," said the tall, distinguished man as he clung to the edge of the bar, trying to maintain his dignity in the zero gravity. It was a lost cause.

The robot was silent and motionless for a moment, then it said, "Pardon me, sir?"

"My name is Alphonse Aganto. I'm supposed to meet Mr. Henson and Mr. Jenkins."

The robot was apparently unable to understand anything that did not relate directly to its job. It kept trying to find the name of a beverage in what the man was saying.

"Henson and Jenkins? Is that the name of a cocktail, sir? Or perhaps it's the brand name of a — "

"No, no, no," the man said impatiently. "It's the name of two men I'm supposed to meet here. Henson and Jenkins."

The robot just stared at him for a moment, then it decided to rephrase its original question, using a different dialect. In a gruff voice the robot spoke in the dialect of ancient Brooklyn.

"Eh . . . what'll ya have, pal?"

"I don't want a drink!" the man said with growing frustration, shouting above the throbbing music. "I was instructed to tell the robot bartender that I have an appointment to see Mr. Henson and Mr. Jenkins. I'm supposed to meet them here."

"Oh, yes sir!" the robot agreed cheerfully. "This is a great place to meet people." The robot paused and then took another stab at getting the man's order.

"Now, would you mind repeating your order, sir? I didn't quite get it."

The man wore a bleak look as he glanced around helplessly. "Don't you have any information on Henson and Jenkins?" he said forlornly, knowing there was no point in asking for another robot bartender because all the robots were tied into a central computer. With growing pessimism, the man tried again. "Maybe you have the information filed under the name of their interstellar courier service? The Wishbone Express, Incorporated?"

"Oh, of course!" The robot exclaimed gleefully. "Forgive me, sir. I must have misread your accent. One Wishbone Express, coming right up!" The robot went to work putting together a drink.

"What? No, I — ah, dammit," the man cursed softly while the robot whipped up an elaborate concoction in an ornate drinking bulb and then stuck a wishbone-shaped cinnamon stick where the straw would normally go. With great flourish the robot presented the drink to Mr. Aganto, and he just accepted it rather than attract any more attention to himself.

____________

Then he leaned across the bar to get his mouth closer to the robot's audio receptor so he could be heard above the music.

"Are there any living beings working here that I can talk to?"

"Living beings, sir?"

“An organic life form who’s in charge,” the man said, growing angry. “Somebody who is self-aware and intelligent!" he shouted above the noise.

Hesitantly the robot said, "You wish to . . . lodge a complaint, sir?"

“Yes! Well . . . no. I mean, I want to ask someone if they can – “

"Is there a problem here, sir?" said a second robot bartender as it floated around the circular bar from the other side.

"Oh, no,” groaned Mr. Aganto as he visualized having to go through the whole lunatic charade all over again. In utter desperation he said, "Would you please just tell the manager, or the owner, or somebody that Mr. Alphonse Aganto would like to see – "

"Ah-ha! Mr. Aganto! Of course, sir. Mr. Henson and Mr. Jenkins are expecting you. If you'll hold onto your drink, I'll take you right up to their office."

Mr. Aganto’s mouth hung open for a few seconds as he realized that things were actually looking up, then he turned to the first bartender and gave it an angry glare. He spoke to the second bartender. "This one acted like he didn't even know what I was talking about!"

"Really? Oh, I’m sorry about that, sir,” said the second bartender. It leaned close and lowered its voice. "He’s uh . . . a new man, sir. Not on-line with the main computer, yet. We just unpacked him this afternoon to give us a hand during the peak period."

"Uuumm . . . oh," said Aganto, feeling a little less persecuted. "Well . . . all right, then."

"And now, sir," said the bartender cheerfully, "if you'll hold tight to your drink, I'll just take you up to – " The robot paused, studying the large drinking bulb in Aganto's hand. "Ah, wonderful! You have a Wishbone Express."

Mr. Aganto stared at the drinking bulb, then back at the bartender. "I beg your pardon?"

"Your drink, sir. It’s a Wishbone Express. Mr. Henson and Mr. Jenkins will be very interested in your opinion of it. You see, they invented that drink themselves."

"Oh, really?" said Aganto. He took a sip of the drink, drawing the liquid through the wishbone-shaped cinnamon stick. The flavor was interesting. In fact, it was wonderful.

“Say, now!” said Aganto with a pleased look. “This is quite good. What's in it?"

"Oh, I’m very sorry sir,” the bartender said politely. “That's classified information. But please let me assure you that it contains nothing harmful or habit-forming , , , well, at least not to humans. And it contains nothing illegal. That is . . . not in most star systems."

"Is it very intoxicating?"

"Actually, sir, its effectiveness varies greatly from life form to life form. In fact, it varies quite a bit among individuals. It even varies from one occasion to the next — for reasons I'm not at liberty to discuss,” the robot concluded apologetically. "And now, sir, if you'll allow me?"

Using some form of built-in propulsion that was completely soundless, the robot floated up over the bar and gently took hold of Mr. Aganto's arm. Mr. Aganto released his anchor grip on the bar and let the robot guide his body as they drifted higher and higher. They entered the maze of horizontal and vertical rods that crisscrossed the space within the huge transparent sphere. The Cloud Nine Lounge was crowded with customers, which meant the air around Aganto was thick with weightless bodies.



There were dozens of different life forms present — every shape, texture, and color imaginable — and their sizes ranged from that of a house cat to a hippopotamus. Some of them were wearing environmental aids (breathing masks, helmets, full-body pressure suits). A major advantage of the zero-gravity condition was that it accommodated every life form (with a few exceptions).

The robot steered a wide path around the noisy entertainment mechanism located at the geometric center of the sphere. Within a space about fifteen meters across, the translucent holographic image of a giant non-human face was singing a lively tune to the hovering audience, even though nine-tenths of them were ignoring the loud distraction while they indulged in entertainments of their own devise.



Aganto had never been in a spaceport bar before — any spaceport bar — and the Cloud Nine Lounge was giving him a spectacular introduction. As the robot drifted upward, weaving its way through the clusters and clumps of bizarre body-shapes, Aganto hung limp in its grasp, trailing behind the robot like a scarf in a breeze. At each of the tables built into the intersections of the metal rods there was a social gathering unique to all those around it.



Aganto saw one table which was completely enveloped in a writhing mass of what appeared to be large furry snakes. They were astonishingly active and noisy. Aganto wondered if he was witnessing some kind of alien orgy. The thought made him uncomfortable. He ventured a question to his guide.

"Excuse me . . . what are they doing?"

The robot glanced over at the squirming lump of chattering, fur-covered snakes. Casually the robot said, "They're arguing politics."

"Oh." It certainly wasn't the answer he expected.



At another table, Aganto saw a group of humans involved in a zero-gravity arm wrestling match that required six people to grip each other's arms and legs tightly so that the two who were actually arm wrestling would be steady enough to compete. It took Aganto a moment to figure out which two were competing.

The robot went higher and higher, pulling Aganto along until they were almost at the top of the transparent sphere. Above him, Aganto saw two men at the upper-most table, floating serenely above the noisy crowd. The area at this altitude was surprisingly quiet, and Aganto marveled at whatever acoustical trick had been employed to prevent the Cloud Nine Lounge from becoming the deafening echo chamber it would otherwise have been.



The robot gently hauled Aganto up next to the table occupied by the two men. His first impression was that both men looked intelligent and capable — even though they really didn't look at all alike.

One of the men was muscular and dark and handsome in a self-styled way. He had jet black hair that was thick and straight, brushed back in the classic style of the square-jawed hero. He even had the square jaw to go with it. The man's facial features had the sculpted look of fine marble. Cosmetic surgery rarely succeeded in producing a face that handsome. For this man, vanity would be a constant danger.

The other man, conversely, had no look of vanity at all. Although he too was muscular and fit, he floated in the air next to the table with a loose-jointed lack of self-consciousness, his arms and legs akimbo. He had short brown hair that showed no inclination towards style or discipline. His face had a rounded shape and a slightly ruddy complexion which gave him a farm-boy quality, a hail and hearty friendliness. He was, in a sense, the perfect opposite of the other man's ultra-handsome quality.

When Aganto was pulled up next to the table, the square-jawed-hero greeted him with a suave smile. The farm-boy gave him a broad and friendly grin. The robot began making introductions with flawless, preprogrammed etiquette.

"Sir, may I present Mr. Randolph Henson and Mr. William Jenkins of the Wishbone Express Interstellar Courier Service, Inc. Gentlemen, this is Mr. Alphonse Aganto, attorney at law."

Randy Henson (the square-jawed-hero) offered Aganto his hand, both to shake it and to pull him closer to the table. The robot released Aganto's arm and promptly fell like a stone for several yards, then it slowed to a feather-light descent. It was quickly swallowed by the hovering mob below.



"A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Aganto," Randy said cordially. "Tell me, sir, how is our mutual friend, Nunkawi Jowa?"

"Oh, uh . . . he’s fine, just fine. He’s expanded his law practice and moved into a bigger office – which is good, since Nunkawi is already twenty feet long and still growing." Aganto smiled, then he remembered something. “By the way. I'm supposed to give you a message. Nunkawi told me that I should, ummm . . . 'say hello to Heckle and Jeckle'. At least I think that's what he said."

"You got it right, sir." Randy Henson was smiling, and his friend was trying not to laugh.

Aganto waited a moment for an explanation. It didn’t come. Finally he said, "I take it those are your nicknames? Something like that?"

"Yes, uummm, something like that," said Bill Jenkins. "Actually they're more like . . . a description of us." He and Henson were still trying to hide their smiles.

"I don't quite follow you," said Aganto.

The smiles got wider, and Henson said, “Well, uh – Heckle and Jeckle are fictional characters. Apparently Bill and I tend to remind people of them."

"What kind of characters?"

Both men looked amused and embarrassed for a moment. Finally Randy said, “They're heroes from ancient Greek mythology."

"Oh, I see,” said Aganto – but he really didn't. He was no student of Greek Mythology, and therefore none the wiser to the lie.

Bill noticed the big drinking bulb in Aganto's hand, and he said, “Excuse me, sir. I notice you've got a Wishbone Express. I recommend that you save it until after we've concluded our negotiations. A Wishbone Express is a rather potent drink."

"Oh. Alright." Aganto glanced down at the drink as if he were ashamed about bringing it.

"Mr. Aganto," Randy began. "Nunkawi Jowa warned us that the job you have for us might be very dangerous. And he said that you, personally, might be in danger, too."

Aganto was glad to finally be talking business, an area in which he was more comfortable than weightless discussions of exotic beverages.

"I'm afraid that’s true, gentlemen. Before you accept this job please understand that a great deal of risk is involved. There may be an attempt on the life of the individual you'll be transporting to Philcani-tu."

"I see,” said Randy, all trace of humor gone from his face. "So this individual is in need of protection as well as transportation."

"Uh, yes,” said Aganto, looking uneasy. "Will that be a problem?"

"Not at all,” Randy said mildly. "But it will increase our fee, of course."

"I understand,” said Aganto, his tone and expression both noncommittal. Normally Mr. Alphonse Aganto was a skillful negotiator, but he was having trouble maintaining any sort of imposing manner in the weightless circus of the Cloud Nine Lounge.

"Perhaps," said Bill, "you’d better give us all the details concerning the situation. Then we’d be able to decide if we're willing to get involved." Both he and Randy leaned in closer, their arms crossed on the table, letting the weak built-in gravity hold them in place. It took Aganto several seconds to realize that they expected him to discuss the whole matter right there in the Cloud Nine Lounge!

"You mean . . . now? Here?"

Bill Jenkins gave him another friendly grin. "Have no fear, Mr. Aganto. As strange as it may sound, this table is actually the business office of the Wishbone Express Interstellar Courier Service – or rather our branch office here in the Sangwaniki system. You contacted us through our jinncom answering service, which is actually the main computer here at the Cloud Nine Lounge. We've made similar arrangements in other star systems, usually with computers like the one here at the Cloud Nine Lounge whose capabilities far exceed their simple duties. The various computers we employ can exchange data between their respective star systems by using jinn wave link-ups, so they can forward any messages to us. With a little careful planning, we can often arrange to have a new job waiting for us at whatever destination the previous job takes us to." Bill concluded his explanation with a noticeable look of pride. "Wishbone Express may be a small operation, Mr. Aganto, but we stay very, very busy."

Mr. Aganto didn't quite know how to react to all this. "I see,” he said hesitantly. "Well, that's certainly resourceful." He was a bit confused by the unorthodox nature of these two men and the way they did business. "But I thought you understood how confidential this matter is. It would be dangerous to discuss it here – "

"Not at all, sir, not at all. Without going into technical details, please let me assure you that any conversation held at this table is as safe from eavesdroppers and surveillance devices as it would be anywhere else."

It was a bold and seemingly illogical claim. Aganto studied the relaxed and sincere faces of the two men for a moment, then he said, "Are you sure?"

"Absolutely," they both in perfect unison.

Aganto appeared totally bewildered as he glanced around, trying to reconcile Bill’s outrageous statement in view of his surroundings. After all, they were inside a transparent bubble, surrounded by sentient beings, any one of whom might be –

But then Aganto realized that the same acoustical trick that prevented the huge spherical room from being a deafening echo chamber might also be employed to guard conversations from eavesdroppers.

"Well . . . alright," Aganto said finally. He folded his arms atop the table like the other two men, letting the artificial gravity keep him from drifting away. Tension was making his mouth feel dry, and he unconsciously raised the drinking bulb to his lips. Bill reached over and gently put his fingertips on Aganto's hand, pushing the drinking bulb back down, shaking his head slowly as he did so. Bill just grinned, but Aganto looked embarrassed for a moment. Then he started speaking in a very quiet, confidential voice.

"As I've already stated, gentlemen, I represent a certain individual who desperately needs both transportation and protection. It is vitally important that this individual get to the planet Philcani-tu within ninety-six hours."

"Why?" said Randy.

Aganto glanced around with visible paranoia. "Because this individual must offer testimony in an investigation being conducted by the Alliance Council of Justice on Philcani-tu. The planetary government on Philcani-tu has been charged with accepting military and financial aid from out-system organizations to suppress a revolution that occurred six months ago. The individual I represent can provide both testimony and hard evidence that may well tip the Council's judgment in favor of the revolutionaries."

Randy and Bill were nodding their heads. They both knew that the Council of Justice was the judicial branch of the Galactic Alliance of Sentient Life, a loose semi-government that presided over most of the star-traveling life forms in the galaxy, allowing each species to rule itself internally anyway they chose, but not allowing any species to interfere with the internal conflicts of another species. The sixteen star systems that comprised the Confederacy of Mankind had been a member of the Alliance for roughly three hundred years.

In principal the Alliance of Sentient Life had but one purpose; to protect the sacred flow of interstellar commerce. To do this, the Alliance had outlawed interstellar war. War tended to kill customers and interfere with trade routes. That sort of thing can be very bad for business – and the Alliance of Sentient Life allowed nothing that was bad for business. So the Alliance had set up a galaxy-wide judicial system that investigated any and all allegations of outside interference between the governments of two or more independently ruled species. Whenever the charges of outside interference were substantiated, the Alliance would punish the guilty parties, be they members of some government, corporation, cartel, et cetera. Punishment could range anywhere from a heavy fine to the complete abolition of the cartel, corporation, or government – and on rare occasions the Alliance had even gone so far as to sterilize an entire planet. When-ever a ruling was handed down by the Council of Justice, the Alliance would send warships (several thousand if necessary) to enforce the Council's decision. The Alliance of Sentient Life never wasted much time with the concept of a "fair fight". The Council of Justice decided what was fair, and the Alliance Armed Forces did the fighting. And they always ended it as quickly as possible.

In spite of the fact that this arrangement sounded like a description of the most ruthless dictatorship in galactic history, it actually wasn't. The rules enforced by the Alliance of Sentient Life tended to restrict oppression rather than restrict freedom.

"Mr. Aganto, if you're so concerned about the possibility of assassination, why don't you get an Alliance Armed Forces starship to transport your client to Philcani-tu?" said Randy.

"Because a military starship will not be available for at least seventy-two hours, and the Council's official Court of Inquiry on Philcani-tu is very close to completing its investigation. It has lasted for several months already, and my client only recently decided to testify."

"I see. But couldn't your client just contact the Court of Inquiry by jinn wave? He could give his testimony – "

"No good. The type of evidence that my client is presenting is not court-acceptable by jinn wave. It must be examined first-hand. Interstellar law clearly states that in any situation where court-admissible evidence involving corporate records pertaining to legal and financial transactions are – "

"Oh lord, please don't start quoting interstellar law,” Bill pleaded, wearing a pained expression. "We'll take your word for it."

Aganto nodded and smiled apologetically. Without thinking, he raised the drinking bulb again to take a sip. Again Bill gave him a gentle reminder by pushing Aganto's hand back down. Nervously the attorney sat the bulb in the middle of the table and then folded his arms.

"Okay," said Randy. "So, the prosecution's star witness needs to haul ass post haste to Philcani-tu. I gather from all this that we'll be in danger from agents of the Philcani-tu government who are trying to prevent your client from testifying."

"Agents of the government, yes – but also agents of the out-system organization who supported it during the revolution. They have as much to lose as the Philcani-tu government. And both of these factions will stop at nothing to prevent my client from testifying. In fact, they've already assassinated two other witnesses – one of whom was aboard an Alliance starship en route to Philcani-tu!"

Randy and Bill both wore worried looks, which they turned and shared with each other for a moment. Randy picked up Mr. Aganto's drink and took a healthy slug, then he sat it back down. Aganto stared indignantly at Randy for a moment, but he kept silent.

"Obviously, Mr. Aganto, you'll expect us to depart as soon as possible – which is no problem," said Randy. "And you'll want us to take the shortest, quickest route to Philcani-tu – which is also no problem. Tell me something, sir. When Nunkawi Jowa recommended our services to you, what exactly did he tell you about our starship?"

"Just that it was extraordinarily fast and well armed. For its size, I mean."

"Is that what he said? I mean, he used the phrase for its size?"

Aganto looked thoughtful for a moment, then he said, "Well, no – not in so many words. But your ship isn't particularly large, is it?"

"True enough, Mr. Aganto," said Randy, sporting a lazy and self-satisfied smile. "But despite the Wishbone's moderate size, there's no reason to put any restrictions on the compliments you pay her. The I.S.Y. Wishbone can out-fight and out-fly most ships three times her size. However, speed and armament are not the only things that make her special. You see, originally she was a stellayacht – a "D" class starship, but we've modified her considerably and upgraded her rating. The original twelve-passenger luxury accommodations have been replaced by a cargo area and four reasonably comfortable cabins."

Bill was chuckling as he interrupted Randy’s description. "Actually, sir, two of the cabins are very comfortable." He gave Aganto a sly smile and a quick wink. "Home is where the heart is, eh?"

Giving Bill an annoyed look, Randy picked up Aganto's drinking bulb and sat it in front of his friend, like Mommy tossing a toy to an irritating child. Then Randy continued. "But the most important modification we made to the Wishbone was to replace her navigational computer with the very best we could get. And we stocked the computer's memory with every scrap of data we could dig up concerning the navigational hazards of the galaxy. Every known star, every known planet, every known nebula – "

" – every asteroid field, every dust cloud," Bill chimed in.

" – every pulsar, colliding star, every contact binary, " said Randy.

" – every neutron star and black hole," said Bill.

" – every binary black hole, every rotating black hole, and every colliding black hole. That computer knows more about our galaxy than the God who made it!" Randy concluded passionately. "Anything and everything that might get in our way and slow us down. Anything at all which might complicate our task of getting from point A to point B in one quick hurry."

"You see, Mr. Aganto," said Bill, "the reason our rates are so high is that the Wishbone Express Interstellar Courier Service is in the short-cut business. We are firm believers in an age-old rule of celestial geometry, the one which states that the shortest distance between two points is usually the most dangerous — so charge accordingly."

Aganto suddenly realized that this whole song and dance was designed to prepare him for a presentation of their fee. Hesitantly Aganto said, “Gentlemen . . . just exactly how much will this trip cost my client?"

"How many passengers will we be carrying?" Bill asked.

"Just me and my client. And . . uuummm . . a body guard."

"I see." Randy and Bill glanced at each other and made some quick little motions with their fingers without even lifting their hands from the table. It was a silent dialogue spoken in an elaborate code. After a few seconds of hasty debate, they agreed on a fee without uttering a word. They turned back to Aganto, and Randy spoke.

"Eighty thousand credits – galactic/common, of course. And a trust fund of five hundred thousand to be used to pay for any damages done to our ship. God willing, we won't need it, but – ”

" – but we'll feel safer if we have it," Bill finished, wearing his big, easy grin. "You know what they say, Mr. Aganto; always guard your heart, your home, and your hinny."

"Five hundred and eighty thousand!" Aganto said incredulously. "Gentlemen, you can't . . . you can't be serious!"

"You'll get the five-hundred thousand back if all goes well, sir,” Randy said cheerfully. “And if things don’t go well – you probably won’t be alive to care about the money anyway.”

"Is the price too steep?" asked Bill.

"I hadn't anticipated such a large — " Aganto swallowed a few times, then he said, "Gentlemen, be reasonable. I would be betraying the trust of my client if I failed to negotiate a price that was a bite more fair – "

"I'm sorry, sir, but the price is nonnegotiable,” Bill said firmly.

Aganto studied the faces of the two men who floated weightlessly across the table from him. He held their steady gazes for a long moment, then a look of resignation crossed his face. "Oh well . . . “ he sighed wearily. "Actually, I expected this. Nunkawi Jowa told me that you never dicker over the price. Unfortunately, I'm not sure my client can afford it." Aganto stared at the tabletop for a moment, and when he spoke he seemed to be talking to himself. "I could perhaps make a small loan to my client – "

"Mr. Aganto!" said Randy, pretending great surprise. "You'd better be careful or you'll give lawyers a good name!"

Aganto pulled himself together and lifted his head. "Gentlemen, on behalf of my client, I accept your terms." He tried to say it firmly, but his voice sounded hoarse. He swallowed a few times, trying to moisten his throat.

"Here, sir, drink this," said Bill as he handed Aganto the drinking bulb. "At times like this, a nice cold Wishbone Express seems to work wonders. In fact, that's exactly why we invented it!"


________________
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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


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Robert (Butch) Day
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:29 am    Post subject: Re: The Wishbone Express - Chapter 1 Reply with quote

Bud Brewster wrote:
... Spaceport bars are, as a rule, vastly overrated.

Well then,WE break that rule here at All Sci-Fi ALL the time!
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

We're the exception, not the rule. Very Happy
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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


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bulldogtrekker
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:16 pm    Post subject: I like it! Reply with quote

I like it! The pictures match the story. Time to recall your book and add the pictures. Twisted Evil
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why bother with printed versions at all? This is the 21st Century, and nobody reads printed books any more!

I'll asked the publisher if there's a way to offer the Kindle version with the pictures!
Very Happy
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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


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Randy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So far, I like the illustrated version.
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Bud Brewster
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trust me, it gets better. Chapter 12 will knock your socks off. It has illustrations like these two.

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Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


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trekriffic
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It reads very well. Love the whole fishbowl bar idea. The illustrations really convey the fantastical nature of this universe. I look forward to reading the chapters to follow.
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Bud Brewster
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Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 15694
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve, you have no idea how much I appreciate your kind words. I was hoping a lot more of our members would read the novel and comment on it, but as you can see, that just hasn't happened.

And if you liked chapter 1 (and the illustrations) you're going to LOVE chapters 2 through 18!
Very Happy
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____________
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)


Last edited by Bud Brewster on Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Pow
Galactic Ambassador


Joined: 27 Sep 2014
Posts: 2954
Location: New York

PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well Bud, you've got me hooked.
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Bud Brewster
Galactic Fleet Admiral (site admin)


Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 15694
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2021 10:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

________________________________

Trust me, you ain't seen nuthin' yet! Very Happy

_________________
____________
Is there no man on Earth who has the wisdom and innocence of a child?
~ The Space Children (1958)
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